Innovation for Six Decades
It all started in the 1950’s when 75% of people diagnosed with mental illness were sent to hospitals or kept in isolation in family homes. Jefferson Center turns 60 this year and we are so proud of the innovative services we designed to help people struggling with some of life’s toughest issues live better lives. We transitioned from the philosophy of treating people with serious mental illness in a day treatment program and “taking care” of them to the concept of consumer empowerment and partnering with them on their road to recovery. I remember a time when our Senior Services Program was located in the basement of a nursing home, a space they shared with the nursing staff there, separated only by a curtain. Today, we have a robust Senior Services Program to meet the demands of the fastest growing population in our state. And I remember many, many times Jefferson Center was there for our community. We were there from the beginning whether it was a flood, a forest fire, or a tragic event in the community like the 1980’s failed parachute at an air show or a high school shooting in Littleton in 1999 that stunned the nation.
For six decades, innovation has been one of our values especially when it comes to finding new and better ways to be there for our community. Jefferson Center recognized early on the importance of taking our services to where people needed them and when they needed them, offering services not only in offices but throughout our entire community…in physician offices, senior centers or schools. I remember a time when we fought hard and won to put the first counselor on site in a school…when we realized that some families fared better with in-home services like Families Together…when we collaborated with NAMI Jeffco to create Summit Center because we believed people with serious mental illness could thrive in clubhouse/vocational skills program that could help them get a job. I remember when Jefferson Center led the way in the juvenile justice arena when it helped create the Juvenile Assessment Center, one of the first in the nation, in collaboration with law enforcement, schools, and human service organizations.
What an incredible journey these 60 years have been. Can’t wait to keep sharing the memories with you about this great organization!
Harriet Hall, Ph.D.
CEO & President